Eid Al Adha – Mombasa Business
In a public notice issued by The Kenya Gazette on Friday, the Cabinet secretary for Interior and Co-ordination of National government Fred Matiang’i declared 20th July 2021 to be a National Holiday in recognition of the Muslim calendar of celebrations.
“It is notified for the general information of the public in exercise of powers conferred by section 2(2), as read with section 3 of the Public Holidays Act, the Cabinet secretary for interior and coordination of National government declares Tuesday, 20th July 2021, shall be a public holiday.”
Eid al-Adha literally translates as “Feast of the Sacrifice”. This is because it honors the willingness of the Prophet Ibrahim – known in the Christian Old Testament as Abraham – to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience to God’s command. Muslims believe that Abraham was told to sacrifice Ishmael, although the Quran does not mention the name of the son.
Ibrahim drives away the devil – who is trying to persuade him to disobey God and let his son live – with pebbles, and prepares to sacrifice his son.
However, seeing that Ibrahim was truly willing to sacrifice his son, Allah produces a lamb for him to sacrifice instead.
Many Muslims view Eid al-Adha as the more holy of the two Eid, as it centers on devotion to Allah.
To remember Ibrahim’s story, Muslims ritually sacrifice animals – normally sheep – on Eid al-Adha. A third of the meat is eaten by the family who perform the sacrifice and the rest is given to the poor.
The purpose of sacrifice in Eid al-Adha is not about shedding of blood just to satisfy God. It is about sacrificing something a Muslim loves in order to advance the festival’s message.
The sacrifice can be something other than an animal – such as money given to charity or time spent doing community service.
Eid al-Adha falls on the 10th day of Dhu al-Hijjah, the 12th month of the Islamic Hijri calendar. Because this is based on the lunar cycle, in the more commonly used Gregorian calendar this date shifts from year to year, moving forward around 11 days annually.
Islam uses the lunar calendar, which begins its count from the Islamic New Year in 622 CE. During that year, the Prophet Muhammad and his followers migrated from Mecca to Medina. This event, known as the Hijra, is commemorated as it led to the founding of the first Muslim community.
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The nature of the Hijri also means that it’s not possible to predict its date exactly – however, we will have a little more warning than with Eid al-Fitr, when the festival falls right at the start of the month.
According to initial estimates, this year’s Eid al-Adha was due to start on Monday 19 July – however, there was no sighting of the crescent moon which would determine the start of Dhu al-Hijjah on 9 July.
This pushed the date of Eid back by a day, with Saudi Arabia declaring that it would now begin on Tuesday 20 July, lasting for four days.
There is some debate as to whether the idea of a moon sighting should refer to you physically witnessing the moon in your region, which could be hampered by factors such as weather conditions, or whether to defer to sightings in Saudi Arabia or other regions.
Some people argue that technological advancements in astronomy mean that the rising of the new moon can be calculated with unprecedented accuracy, meaning that a standardized start date can be used for all Muslims around the world, rather than having variations.
Before the arrival of Eid al-Adha, worshippers will hope that Covid-19 restrictions ease to ensure they are able to mark the occasion in as familiar way as possible.
In ordinary times, once the sun has risen fully in the sky devout Muslims will pray ahead of the Dhuhr prayer at noon.
Muslims in Kenya will gather in respective mosques to celebrate. From CrystalPerk we wish all Muslims happy holiday.
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